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10.26.18

IFPTE Urges Congress to Protect Veterans' Privacy

October 26, 2018

Hon. Phil Roe, Chairman
Veterans’ Affairs Committee
United States House of Representatives
335 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Tim Walz, Ranking Member
Veterans’ Affairs Committee
United States House of Representatives
333 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Johnny Isakson, Chairman
Veterans’ Affairs Committee
United States Senate
412 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Hon. John Tester, Ranking Member
Veterans’ Affairs Committee
United States Senate
825A Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chairmen Roe and Isakson & Ranking Members Walz and Tester:

On behalf of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), representing 90,000 workers, including thousands of Veterans, we are writing regarding an issue that was brought to our attention by the members of the IFPTE Veterans Committee. The issue involves the registration of DD214 forms by Veterans with their local or state governments.

As you are aware, the DD214 form is acquired by Veterans of our military as proof of their service to our nation. This form verifies that they served in the military and is critical in allowing Veterans to obtain services and benefits they are entitled to. Some of these benefits include Veterans preference when applying for jobs and during employment, retirement, and membership in Veterans organizations. The DD214 form contains information about the Veteran, including personal information such as birthdate and social security number, as well as other general separation information.

To their credit, most, if not all the military branches recommend that soon-to-be Veterans not only acquire their DD214 form, but also keep them intact and in good condition, as this form is one of the few documents of proof of their service. One of the recommendations to those separating from the service is to register the form with their state, county or city government for safe keeping. The intent of this is to ensure that if the original DD214 is somehow damaged, destroyed, stolen or lost, that there is a replica of it registered with the local government. As a part of this process, the DD214 also becomes a public document, available for public consumption through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, or the information is simply accessible through locally available public documents. As you can imagine, given the personally identifiable information included in the DD214 forms, this is a major concern to the members of the IFPTE Veterans Committee, as we suspect it is for countless other Veterans across the nation. This is particularly concerning now, given that identity theft is at an all-time high.

IFPTE realizes that the current 115th Congress is winding down and that there is little time on the legislative calendar to address all the issues of importance. However, we believe that ensuring the privacy of the information of our Veterans who register their DD214 form locally is an issue that should be addressed before Congress adjourns. Along those lines, and as the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, respectively, we ask that you work in bipartisan fashion to add legislative language to a legislative vehicle that will pass later this year to mandate that all DD214 forms filed with state, local or city governments be kept private and made available only to the service member and their designated next of kin and representative.

Thank you for your consideration. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact any of us directly at (202) 239-4880.

Sincerely,

Paul Shearon,
IFPTE President

Matthew Biggs,
IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer/
Legislative Director

Timothy Rudolph,
Veterans Committee Chair
IFPTE Local 195 President

________________________________________

RELATED:
IFPTE Fall Veterans Committee call scheduled for 11/14/2018. To join the Veterans Committee, email mbiggs@ifpte.org. To get details for the call, visit www.ifpte.org.

IFPTE Letter to Congress to Protect Veterans' Privacy

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